William relishing life with his new team

The new hotel will be built close to the NW200 start/finish line
The new hotel will be built close to the NW200 start/finish line

William Dunlop intends to capitalise on the advantages of being in a one-man team in 2016 with Ulster outfit CD Racing.

Dunlop is riding a Yamaha YZF-R1 Superbike for the Chris Dowd-run team alongside the trick Supersport R6 on which he went through the Irish National campaign unbeaten last year, with both machines prepared by ex-Yamaha World Superbike engineer and tuning genius Marcus Eschenbacher.

The 30-year-old was Guy Martin’s team-mate during his stint in Philip Neill’s TAS squad and although Dunlop enjoyed his two-year association in the Tyco-backed team, the Ballymoney man says the guarantee of being the number one rider at CD Racing was a big part of the attraction in joining loyal backer Dowd full-time once again.

“I had a good relationship with Guy and everyone in the team at TAS and I got on well with them, but no matter what team you go to, there’s always a rider who gets pushed more in one way than the other,” he said.

“Anywhere I’ve been, when I’ve rode a 600 I’m the rider who gets everything going whereas the other rider doesn’t get as much, but when it comes to a Superbike, I’m the one who misses out.

“Naturally, the team is going to go behind their strongest rider with each bike but riding for Chris next year means everything is geared around me.

“That was one of the biggest things for me because I wanted to be in a one-man team and when it comes to Chris and building bikes, he always looks after me and listens to what I have to say.

“I know Chris well, I fit in with the team and I’m looking forward to everything because Eugene McManus is also involved with helping Chris and we all get on with one another,” added Dunlop.

The Ballymoney man is relishing this year’s first international road racing event and hopes to add to his four victories on the north coast, which includes a Superbike success in 2014.

He has warmed up with wins at Tandragee and Cookstown, and is hoping to carry that good form on into this week.

“This year is like any other season, you’re just trying to get bike time, with a bit of luck you’ll have a good bike on the day,” said Dunlop.

“It all depends on the day. When I went with the Suzuki with TAS the bike was faultless from the first session.

“Then they took on BMW, which was a new project, new bike, and to be fair it was hard work at the start until we got it going.

“But as I say it’s just like any team it can take a wee bit of time, but sometimes you’re lucky and you find it from the word go. I’m pretty confident we’ll have something good come race day.

“If everything is going well and I’m in a good place there’s no reason why I can’t add another win on the day.